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Graeme K. Mather, Brian J. Morrison, and Griffith M. Morgan Jr.


For the past three years, a Learjet has been making microphysical measurements in new cloud development on the flanks of multicellular storms in the eastern Transvaal area of South Africa. Data from an imaging probe and a forward scattering spectrometer have been averaged for each storm for all first cloud penetrations between −8° and −12°C. Clear images of drops of diameters greater than 300 μm are found in 40% of the 42 storms measured.

Most of the observed drops are associated with the more “maritime” droplet spectra. Also, the appearance of coalescence around −10°C appears to be related to cloud base temperatures and buoyancies, rather than changes in air masses, suggesting that cloud thermodynamics may play a dominant role in determining cloud microphysics in the Nelspruit area.

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Anita D. Rapp, Christian Kummerow, Wesley Berg, and Brian Griffith


Significant controversy surrounds the adaptive infrared iris hypothesis put forth by Lindzen et al., whereby tropical anvil cirrus detrainment is hypothesized to decrease with increasing sea surface temperature (SST). This dependence would act as an iris, allowing more infrared radiation to escape into space and inhibiting changes in the surface temperature. This hypothesis assumes that increased precipitation efficiency in regions of higher sea surface temperatures will reduce cirrus detrainment. Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite measurements are used here to investigate the adaptive infrared iris hypothesis. Pixel-level Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) 10.8-μm brightness temperature data and precipitation radar (PR) rain-rate data from TRMM are collocated and matched to determine individual convective cloud boundaries. Each cloudy pixel is then matched to the underlying SST. This study examines single- and multicore convective clouds separately to directly determine if a relationship exists between the size of convective clouds, their precipitation, and the underlying SSTs. In doing so, this study addresses some of the criticisms of the Lindzen et al. study by eliminating their more controversial method of relating bulk changes of cloud amount and SST across a large domain in the Tropics. The current analysis does not show any significant SST dependence of the ratio of cloud area to surface rainfall for deep convection in the tropical western and central Pacific. Results do, however, suggest that SST plays an important role in the ratio of cloud area and surface rainfall for warm rain processes. For clouds with brightness temperatures between 270 and 280 K, a net decrease in cloud area normalized by rainfall of 5% per degree SST was found.

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Elena S. Lobl, Kazumasa Aonashi, Brian Griffith, Christian Kummerow, Guosheng Liu, Masataka Murakami, and Thomas Wilheit

The “ Wakasa Bay Experiment” was conducted in order to refine error models for oceanic precipitation from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Radiometer-Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) measurements and to develop algorithms for snowfall. The NASA P-3 aircraft was equipped with microwave radiometers, covering a frequency range of 10.7–340 GHz, and radars at 13.4, 35.6, and 94 GHz, and was deployed to Yokota Air Base in Japan for flights from 14 January to 3 February 2003. For four flight days (27–30 January) a Gulfstream II aircraft provided by Core Research for Environmental Science and Technology (CREST), carrying an extensive cloud physics payload and a two-frequency (23.8 and 31.4 GHz) microwave radiometer, joined the P-3 for coordinated flights. The Gulfstream II aircraft was part of the “Winter Mesoscale Convective Systems Observations over the Sea of Japan in 2003” (“WMO-03”) field campaign sponsored by Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST). Extensive data were taken, which addressed all of the experimental objectives. The data obtained with the NASA P-3 are available at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and they are available free of charge to all interested researchers.

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